Rated R for strong language and some violence. 135 minutes
Directed By: Spike Lee
Staring: Edward Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper, Rosario Dawson, Anna Paquin and Brian Cox.
Jakob Elinsky: What do we say to him?
Frank Slaughtery: We say nothin’. The guy’s going to hell for seven years, what are going do wish him luck?
25th Hour is my favorite Spike Lee film for a number of reasons. Spike has the knack of perfectly capturing New York City and what it is like to live there. I remember this as one of the first big budget films to film in NYC after 9-11. The opening sequence, scratch that the entire film is one big tribute to the people of New York. I do admit that the opening sequence is visually and musically stunning. I loved the feel of skyscrapers and the spotlights and the ominous pounding of the drums from Terence Blanchard excellent score. This is one of the greatest opening sequences of a film and it truly sets the tone for the movie.
I remember seeing this film in the theaters because I am a huge Ed Norton fan and I thought the trailer looked pretty cool. What I got was far greater than a cool movie. I was engrossed in a film with many layers that took me on a journey, one which you hope you never have to experience. The film revolves around the last night of freedom for Monty Brogan, played by Ed Norton, a convicted drug dealer. He is accompanied out on the town with his girlfriend Naturelle Riviera played by Rosario Dawson and two childhood friends Jacob Elinsky played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Frank Slaughtery played by Barry Pepper.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman is perfect for the character of Jacob because he is able to use his mix of anxious bumbling character that he has been able to master in roles such as Boogie Nights and Magnolia. He is a nice mix to the group. I love some of his interactions with Anna Paquin’s character who plays one of his students that they encounter out at the club.
Frank Slaughtery is my favorite character, almost more so than Monty Brogans character. He is the epitome of of a money hungry ruthless stockbroker. One which we have not seen the likes of on film since Wall Street. His lines are priceless in the film. The broker scene gives what I would think of as a true feeling of a life inside a stockbrokers office. I think Barry Pepper does a great job of playing this nice mix of cockiness and cool. I like this character because he speaks his mind and lives his life to the fullest.
I am not a huge fan of flashback sequences but 25th Hour uses them perfectly. The lighting throughout the film is perfect. I loved the music used in the film. Terence Blanchard does a great score. I loved the remixed version of “White Lines” by Grand Master Flash used during the club scene. Whenever I see that club sequence it sends chills up my back and electrifies me. The sound and the lighting are especially good in this scene because of the black lighting of the club. My only gripe is with the ending which OF COURSE I am not going to share but I would much rather have have had a more compact and tidy ending instead. For those of you who have seen this then you will hopefully understand what I mean. This movie makes you think about what you would do on your last night before you were to go away to prison for 7 years. Think to yourself, what would you do?